Best Shot Monday: Friends and Strangers Project, Walter

Last week, I had a lunch date with my dear friend Walter. Walter and I have been friends for right about twenty years now, having started in our roles as campus Student Life coordinators at the College within sixth months of each other, Walter at South, me at Kent. He broke my heart when he decided to retire early two years ago. We had a deal! We came in together; we go out together! Now Walter's enjoying life to the fullest, working when he wants to and traveling often.

While Walter was with the College, rarely a day passed that we didn't check in with each other. He truly was my best friend at the College, and the phrase I heard often was, "Dr. Warren, I need to sit on your couch!" And of course there was the "You didn't hear this from me, but..." Oh, how I miss talking with Walter every day. Now that I don't get to see him as often, the girls and I are living vicariously through his travels since he sends us numerous pictures from wherever he happens to be. Most recently it was New York City, one of our favorite places ever! Last summer Walter traveled to Paris and took requests from the girls regarding the things they wanted photos of. Of course, we requested the Eiffel Tower, and he sent us a stunning nighttime picture of the tower, but the girls also had tougher challenges for him, like fountains with animals. But sure enough, "Uncle Walter," as my girls call him, came through. The next day we woke up to nearly a dozen photos of fountains with animals! Some were actual animal fountains, glorious sculptures with sparkling water, and some were animals NEXT to fountains, enjoying the water.

There are co-workers that simply remain co-workers. And then there are those co-workers that truly become very close friends. Walter most definitely falls into the latter category. Love you Walter!

See more Friends and Strangers project posts here.  Happy Memorial Day to you all!  I hope you've had a lovely weekend and have kept the families of our veterans who gave their lives for our country in your thoughts.  

A Little Bling for Your Friday

Happy Friday! I've had three days at home this week, unfortunately with sick girls, so I've had a lot of time to get jewelry photographed and uploaded to my website and Etsy. It's been a while since I've done an update. I love the colors in this piece. It reminds me of the colors of a sunrise over the ocean. I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Best Shot Monday: We are Officially Failures

Pete 5-8-14

There comes a time in every foster family's experience when failure occurs. Or so we are told. Or so we have now officially experienced. It's not a "bad" failure as you may think; the shelter actually celebrates these types of failures! A "foster failure" is what happens when you end up adopting a cat or dog you've been fostering. And that's exactly what happened here. Pete, above, has officially become a Warren. His full name is Spartacus Pete Warren.

So here's the funny part of the story. We fostered Pete and his brother Repeat, pretty much twins except for their size and one little white chin. It took just two short days for us all to completely fall in love. Now you would think that of two brothers named Pete and Repeat, Repeat would be the smaller one, right? That's how we viewed them. When we took them back to the shelter May 9 for shots and weigh, they were ready for surgery and adoption, so we wished them "Happy Life, sweet kitties" and headed back home. I had to go by the shelter Thursday to drop off some paperwork and saw that Repeat was in adoptions. Pete had been adopted the day after his surgery. When I got home and told Benny and the girls that Repeat was still there but Pete had been adopted, I heard in unison, "No! They were supposed to be adopted together! You have to go back and get Repeat!"

And so we did, Saturday morning. I was really amazed how big Repeat had gotten just in the week since we brought the pair back in. Turns out, the whole time we had them, Repeat was actually Pete, and Pete was actually Repeat. So Pete was adopted by someone else ... and Repeat was adopted by us. But he was Pete to us! Are you confused yet? Anywho, welcome to the family, Spartacus Pete!  It's been about six weeks since I lost my sweet blind girl Savannah, so Tink was just now getting used to being queen of the household before we brought Pete back home.  She'll adjust! :-)

A Call to Art: Bring Back Our Girls!

A Call to Art Auction Flyer

I'm sure you've been reading about the nearly 300 Nigerian school girls abducted by a radical group that believes that girls should not dare to dream about becoming anything by wives and mothers. To date, they still have not been found. I don't know about you, but I certainly want more than that for myself and my girls.  Now, artists from around the world are coming together to raise funds for just one of the many organizations that help girls like these. Jessica Sporn has put together an online auction for Girl Rising to support the effort to "bring back our girls." Visit the auction here and bid on one or two of the many items donated. I donated a matted and signed copy of the photo below, which I've remained Hope for these girls. Below my photo are a list of the artists currently participating. Be sure to visit the auction site here!


Jessica Sporn: 

Linda Kittmer:

Ronda Palazzari:

Marjie Kemper:

Judy Shea:

Glenda Hoagland:

Astrid Maclean:

Lisa Pace: 

Jackie Neal:

Claudine Criner:

France Papillon:

Kristin Van Valkenburgh:

Marcia Beckett:

Ruth Levy:

Sally Lynn MacDonald:

Renee Zarate:

Natasha May:

Carmen Whitehead:

Seth Apter:

Marybeth Shaw:

Amy Ingardia-Walker:

Kelly Warren:

Julie Bernier:

Adrienne Hoban:

Krista van Tol:

Cheryl Grigsby:

Jill Meyer:

Lisa Flaherty:

Kerry C. Mitchell:

Lizabeth Harrington:

Barbara Lanza:

Jamie Dougherty:

Doreen Kassel:

Best Shot Monday: Friends and Strangers Project, Ian and Harolyn

Ian and Harolyn 1

Meet Ian and Harolyn, two of my favorite people. I've know Ian for years. He's been involved in theater in Jacksonville for many, many years, and we first met when he was teaching some acting classes on campus about 15 or so years ago. He's an immensely talented actor and playwright, and as you may have guessed from this photo, pretty hilarious. One of his one man shows is titled "Eb Scrooge: A Southern Fried Christmas Carole." That should give you a pretty good idea of his sense of humor! His most recent Jacksonville project is Swamp Radio, a very cool live radio/variety show experience that travels through the region.  He lives most of the time in the NYC area now, furthering his acting and play writing career, but we are happy to have him back in town when we can.

Harolyn is a speech professor on campus and is also very involved in theater in Jacksonville. A very talented actor herself, Harolyn and I have worked together on several theater-oriented projects on campus, and she's a lovely person to work with. Harolyn was the artistic director of the Shelby County Community Theater in Kentucky for many years and then also did demonstration lessons with students and coached elementary and middle school teachers on how to infuse drama into core classes as a learning opportunity for the Galef Institute before joining us here at the college six years ago. Our most recent project included her portrayal of the poet Emily Dickinson in a one-woman show complemented by student poetry and artwork with a nature theme.  It was a great learning community that brought together three disciplines:  performing arts, visual arts, and literary arts.

I had the pleasure of having lunch with these two last week at Mojo No. 4, Urban BBQ Whiskey Bar in the Avondale area of Jacksonville. Great name for a restaurant, huh? Since I had to go back to work, I couldn't partake of the whiskey part, but the BBQ and fried pickles were mighty tasty. Ian has some ideas to beef up the visibility of the college's performing arts projects in the neighborhood, thereby gaining some opportunities to bring the neighborhood back to campus with us.  We'll be getting together again when Ian makes it back to town and see what happens. I'm looking forward to some fun times ahead with these two!  Sadly, I've never been able to live my dream of performing in musical theater on Broadway (that'll happen when you never even take a theater class), so I get to do things with these two to vicariously keep the dream alive. :-)

Ian and Harolyn 2

Lots of New Jewels

I've been working on some new jewelry pieces lately, primarily to get ready for the Glynn Arts Festival that I participated in mid-April. I've done this show several times since it's just up the road in St. Simon's Island, Georgia, so I can sleep in my own bed.  Always a bonus!  It's a very well run show and usually has great crowds.  This year it was again a well-run show, but the crowds were pretty light.  I think there was just too much competition down in Jacksonville with One Spark and the San Marco Arts Festival.  I'm not sure how I missed hearing about the San Marco show as I would have done that one instead.  It's literally just 20 minutes from home!  There's always next year.

I'll admit I've had a hard time keep up with it all lately.  While I created lots of new work for this show, like this bracelet, I've yet to get them all photographed!  Hopefully soon!  As usual, I always stretch myself too thin. Add that to my day job being over the top busy and I haven't been getting a whole lot accomplished around the house.  The girls and I hope to get caught up on some of our Documented Life project prompts tomorrow, and then maybe I'll get around to photographing some new jewelry for you. Summer term has started, so hopefully that will mean a bit more time to play!

I hope that whether you are a mother, daughter, father, son, brother or sister, you have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!  

iHanna International Post Card Swap!

iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
I try to participate in iHanna's International PostCard swaps as postcards are easy to make, and it's so much fun to receive little bits of postcard happiness from all over the world.  This time around, I committed to just using up whatever was on my workspace in front of me and knocked out all ten of them in about an hour.  The backgrounds were already done, left over from another project, so that gave me a good start!  My postcards went to Jackson Heights, New York; Petersburg, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; Gurnee, Illinois; Rotorua, New Zealand; Radcliff on Trent, Notts, UK; Marouba, New South Wales, Australia; Helsingborg, Sweden; and Inverness-Shire, Scotland. I liked that funky little fish so much I used him twice! Which one is your favorite?
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014iHanna-3
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014
iHanna Postcard Swap 2014

Best Shot Monday: Hope

The roadside wildflowers have been quite prolific lately! On our ride to school every morning, the girls and I pass by several large fields, all of them now filled with wildflowers (if not cows). I imagine I got some strange looks from drivers passing by as I was laying on the ground with my camera to capture these, and this was only about 10 feet from the road! Sometimes the simplest things--and often those things we take for granted, like roadside wildflowers--are the prettiest.